Tag Archives: sober

Finding freedom in facing pain

There is just so much good stuff out here on the interweb, sometimes it takes my breath away (cue images of Top Gun in my head!)

I saw this and just had to share:

I love her 5 action steps for freedom and couldn’t agree more.

  1. Admit you have a problem
  2. Reach out to others
  3. Have the willingness to recognise the thoughts, feelings and behaviours that are preventing you from reaching your full potential
  4. Be fearless in seeking solutions
  5. Be courageous in sharing your journey with others

2 and 5 speak so much about the sober blogging community.  And for me 3 and 4 are wrapped up in my ongoing CBT work, which I will blog about in the next couple of weeks.

If you are reading this and would like to reach out and haven’t before then please say hi.  I’d be so honoured 🙂


We owned the night!

Nike we owned it result

Well I’m just back from London Town after staying overnight post run.  We owned it!!

What a fabulous evening!  My running buddy and I went for Nando’s pre-race to pack some protein and that was a bad idea.  It made us late and too much protein too close to the race gave me a stitch pretty much all the way round – a learn for the next time.

The event itself was really well organised and there were 10,000 runners.  I tried to hook up with FitFatFood and we had plenty of text conversations but didn’t manage to find each other.  Again next time 🙂

As for my run time – well I didn’t make the sub 1hr but seeing as my last 10K personal best was 1hr 10mins my run time was pretty good.  Progress not perfection right? 😉

So run time? 01:05:43

As promised here is a picture of me having just crossed the finish line 🙂

Lou R owned it

So now you know what I look like, I’d better formally introduce myself.  My real name is Lou, but Lucy is a family nick-name so I’m just as happy to answer to that 🙂

We went for dinner afterwards at a fantastic restaurant called Bistrotheque where I had tomatoes, mozzarella & black olives followed by passion fruit and fennel seed mess served with a fine non-alcoholic cocktail called an Elderflower Spritz served with fresh mint.  My running buddy had a glass of Sauvignon Blanc.

Did I miss booze & was I jealous of my friend’s glass of wine?  Not at all.  Not only was booze not required it felt like it wouldn’t have added anything to the evening.

We walked back to the hotel and collapsed into bed at 12.30, slept well and awoke feeling sore but refreshed.  A resounding success and another first as hotel stays in the past were typified by banging hangovers the morning after and struggle – but not this time.

I really enjoyed the whole thing and if there are other sober bloggers/readers who run, or who would like to start running, then maybe next year we could get a posse of sober runners together and all do it together.  What do you think?  I’m up for it if you are 😉

So thank you for the well wishes and sponsorship so far.  If you would like to thank me for my blog or sponsor last night’s run then you can go to http://www.virginmoneygiving.com/ahangoverfreelife and through supporting me support Alcohol Concern 🙂

Oh what a night out!

Recently the children went to stay with their grandparents overnight and we had not asked for this gift.  It was simply offered – lovely 🙂

So what do you do when you have no kids, no planned reason for them to be away and a whole evening to  yourselves?  It takes no guesses to figure out that in the past this was a genuine reason to cut loose and get trashed – just because we could with no repercussions or responsibilities until 5pm the next day.  But we don’t do that anymore right?

Initially I found myself feeling sad and wistful for what might have been but that was quickly replaced with the thought of ‘there are so many things I want to do tomorrow and if I had a hangover none of it would get done’ and a feeling of relief.  I could keep my plans intact and not sabotage myself.

So we headed into our nearest city and looked for things to do that don’t involve drinking.   We found a cool Mexican restaurant where I had a ‘Big Ass Burrito’ accompanied by Agua de Horchata, a traditional Mexican drink made with rice milk, vanilla and cinnamon.

Then we wandered into the chocolate shop, Chocolat Chocolat and picked up 100g of the finest salted caramel milk chocolate to have when we got home as a sober treat.

We also found this weird tea shop called ‘Ooshi The Bubble Tea World’.  Never heard of it, never tried it so in we go.  From their site which you can visit here:

“Created in the tea shops of Taiwan during the 1980’s, Bubble Tea has become one of the most popular drinks around today.  Also known as Pearl Milk Tea or Boba Milk Tea it comes in a wide range of flavours that blend tea with either fruit or milk.  With the addition of ice, fruit syrups and tapoica pearls hundreds of tastes combinations can be created to delight the taste buds!  The ‘bubble’ in Bubble Tea comes from the gorgeous bubbly froth you get by shaking up the drink just before you have it!”

I had a jasmine green tea with apple flavour ooballs.  Sounds odd but actually tasted rather delicious.

So we had a great time, drove home, early to bed and up with a clear head to accomplish everything on my to do list before the terrors returned home.  Perfect 😉

What would your perfect sober night out include?

Breaking our own promises

Great audio from Nicole Antoinette at Life Less Bullshit about the subject of ‘stopping breaking the promises you make to yourself’.

It’s particularly resonant because, as she shares in the audio, 3 years ago Nicole was one of us boozers struggling with daily drinking, getting up in the morning and promising she wouldn’t drink that day and then breaking that promise later that same day. Familiar stuff right?

Now she’s been sober 3 years and this is one of the things that helped her get sober.  So if it worked for her, and if you’re stuck in this daily promises dilemma, it might help you 🙂

Edited to add: 07.19am The promise I am making to myself today is that I have signed up to the Recovery 2.0 Beyond Addiction online conference this week-end.  I won’t have the time to listen to all the speakers but I will commit to listening to a few each day as part of my self-care routine this week-end.  What small promise are you making to yourself today?





Relapse Prevention Plan

A relapse prevention plan is something that you can write down that will offer you the best chance of reducing the risk of relapse.

In it you include:

  1. Your relapse signature
  2. What you can do at each stage to cope
  3. Any life or psychosocial events that you feel may have triggered you in the past
  4. A list of people you can turn to for support either by phone, email or within communities

It is important to have documented this and to stick to it because at the time we can get so caught up in the ‘feeling’ that we fail to action any ‘thinking’ and this can lead to us engaging in the very type of behaviour we were trying so hard to avoid.  I found myself becoming very ‘hard of thinking about my drinking’ when a relapse was on the horizon either because I was overwhelmed, or I didn’t want to do it differently, for whatever reason.  Drinking felt almost ‘hard wired’.

Support for me has been the single biggest factor in keeping me on the sober path.  I talk to Mr HOF, I blog on here, I read and comment on others sober blogs, I hang out in sober communities whether it be here in the wider public sober blogging community, or whether in more private communities such as Soberistas, or the Booze Free Brigade on Yahoo, or any other kind of community.   You could attend an AA meeting or organise outpatient support through your GP if that is available.

Recovery is hard and can feel very lonely at times.  It can begin to feel like a relapse is inevitable, but it isn’t.  We always have a choice to pick up or not pick up a drink and I hope that these posts have added to your sober toolkit for the next time wolfie comes a-whispering in your ear  😉

Are there other sober tools I should add to my toolkit to make a relapse preventable?

What does hangover free look like?

Now this isn’t some philosophical question, more of a visual representation question.  I’ve been thinking about changing my blog a bit and was trying to think of what ‘a hangover free life’ looks like visually.

I suspect for all of us this will look different but for me this is what I see in the daytime:


And this is what I see come evening time:

bubble bath and candles

Why?  Well we honeymooned in the Maldives and at the time I described it as being what I imagined heaven on earth would be like.  Just looking at these picture makes me happy, optimistic and inspired, plus candles and bubbles in a bath are part of my sober treats already 😉

All those pennies and pounds I’ve been saving need to be put to good use for a BIG sober treat in the future.  When I was training to run the London Marathon I used a similar image on the wall next to my running machine to keep me motivated and it’s no different now.

Plus I have this dream of one day in the future running sober celebratory retreats where all us cool sober people hang out, catch some rays and generally live the good life for a week or so to remind us why we started on this journey and to reward our hard work and continued growth.

If you had to visualise what it means to you what would it look like?  Could you email me with an image that most represents the goal of sobriety for you and I’ll post them all up and we can have a poll to decide which one goes on the top of my blog (or maybe more than one image who knows!)  Send them in over the next two weeks and I’ll share them all after that 🙂

Can’t wait x

Edited to add: 22/04/14 Was so excited to be able to change the header on my blog after the site being down all Easter week-end that I couldn’t hold off putting a new image up temporarily.  I will share all the other images you suggested on 2nd May as promised and we’ll change it again then 🙂 xx

A river of tears

So last week-end I started on some Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) with an experienced senior practitioner.

Why?  Because I have this tiny little voice in my head that say’s ‘if I could get to the bottom of what my thinking around my drinking was and could fix it then all would be well and I could drink socially again’.  I know, I know – sounds like a wolf in sheep’s clothing right?

But this wolf/sheep is still struggling with how the rest of the flock get to drink and she doesn’t.  ‘Sheeple‘ is an oft used derogatory term for a person who follows the herd without thinking about their actions and this is part of my struggle too.  Am I wanting to drink again so that I fit in or is this just wolfie words to keep me struggling?  If the attitude towards drinking had changed as it has towards smoking, so that it was considered a more anti-social than social habit, would this decision be so hard?

These are all unanswered questions that I continue to struggle with.  I hate being a sheeple and feeling like one and usually rejoice in going against the flow so why is this issue different?  I struggle with the question of ‘am I an alcoholic?’ and that my inability to control my drinking isn’t a failing in me but a reflection of an addictive substance.  I know this isn’t new to any of you but that is what was going through my head when they asked me the question.

Then they asked me to scale/rate how hard this was for me to unpick and manage and that was a resounding 10.  This is some of the hardest shit I have ever done, and I’m doing it sober, and I am crying a river of tears.  It’s like a wine bottle cork was plugging the dam of tears that have been building up and been kept in check for as long as I can remember.   The no booze and tricky therapeutic conversations has finally forced the cork out of the hole and the full force of my tear ducts had been released.  As the lovely Mrs D would say ‘water keeps falling from my eyes’ and I feel unable, and unwilling, to control it like I did in the past.

I will share how the CBT goes and what I learn because I wonder if I am not alone in how I think and how it relates to my drinking and I find this therapeutic in itself.  I sense I know the answer to the question already but I’m just not yet ready to accept it and this is my way of delaying the inevitable.  But what a fantastic learning opportunity too and what doesn’t break us makes us stronger right?

If only ….

I have often been guilty of, and still am really, of ‘if only’ or wishful thinking.

You know, the if only I was thinner/prettier/smarter/richer then I would be happier/less stressed and things would be easier/better.  Such a dangerous game to play and it isn’t really living in the moment but wishing away time.  Deadly.

And being able to manage my drinking/being sober fitted this way of thinking too.  I believed that when I stopped drinking that everything else that wasn’t quite how I wanted it to be would miraculously improve.  Now don’t get me wrong many of those things have happened as a by-product of stopping  – I’ve lost 7lbs, my face is less ravaged by booze fugliness when I look in the mirror in the morning and I have more money in my pocket.  But initially I wasn’t less happy or stressed and things felt harder and worse not the opposite.  But the pain in the early days is worth the pay-offs in the longer term.

I guess my point is just don’t expect miracles.  I am less moody and generally easier to be around, now that I’m not permanently hungover, but if you had relationships that you struggled with this change in you will not necessarily improve things with them in the short term.

It makes me think of Tuckman’s stages of group development: ‘forming, norming, storming, performing.’  This change is like any other and when you stop drinking it changes the dynamic with others that you relate to, and with, so these stages come into play.  I think at almost 7 months I’ve done the forming new ways of relating and it has become more normal but now we’ve hit the storming phase.  But as always I suspect, this too shall pass.

I’ll revisit this post in a few months time and see if we’ve got over this bump in the road.  Those of you further ahead than me in the journey – what is your experience as I’d love to have some re-assurance? 🙂

Thrive beyond addiction

I’ve nicked the title from that which Mastin Kipp on The Daily Love listed it under.

Although this video is called ‘9 ways to become more spiritual’ I read this in a wider sense of the meaning of the word spirituality – not the narrow religious meaning, and the Youtube description supports this.  It says ‘you don’t need to be religious to live a more spiritual life. Watch as up-and-coming spiritual teachers Gabrielle Bernstein, Mastin Kipp and Marie Forleo each give three simple ways to enlighten your life today’.

It’s really good and only 5 1/2 minutes long and the Gabrielle Bernstein segment is the reason it’s here on a sober blog as she talks specifically about addiction.

You’re reading this blog so: are you more willing to paying attention to your drinking and ready to do something about it or have you already? If you would like to share below I’d love that 🙂

PS Day 200 today!

PPS This blog is my bliss 😉


Mother’s Day Mutterings

It started on Thursday.  Colleagues at work asking what treat was in store for me this Sunday.  I answered I didn’t know and the conversation moved on.

Until I was lying in the bath that night and the voice in my head piped up.  Those premeditated resentments started to form and it went something like this “well birthday’s used to be a big deal because you could celebrate with a drink and Christmas isn’t what it used to be now that you don’t drink.  And newly sober you must be a better parent so the day that should really be celebrated is now Mother’s Day.  And if they don’t spoil me rotten that day then why did I bother giving up drink and that would be a really bloody good reason to drink, to reward yourself for being such a good parent if they can’t be bothered” harumph  Uh oh, then I realised wolfie was there dressed like grandma in the little red riding hood story lurking under the bedclothes in disguise ready to gobble me up!

In my drinking days I would have nursed these expectations over the following days and when the day failed to match the picture I had built up in my head I would have sulked, probably picked an argument and drank – justifying it with I’m feeling sorry for myself so I’m going to drink more.  This time I outed myself – first to Mr HOF (who made noises that suggested he understood my warped logic) and now to you (although I don’t feel very proud of admitting this line of thinking).

I’m going to write some posts soon about relapse and warning signs as to me this was a big flashing neon warning sign of a relapse in the making.  Maybe with six months under my belt I have become complacent, bored, frustrated and am maybe having a few post 6 month sober-versary blues.  The memories of drinking don’t seem quite so hideous as they used to either and this rattles me.  I can feel wolfie’s breath down my neck again in a way that I haven’t done for a while.  Maybe I need to treat myself today irrespective of what my family do? 😉